Philosophy Lexicon of Arguments

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I 52
Language/Millikan: in this chapter: what are the relations between
1. the stabilizing function of a speech pattern
2. their literal use
3. the speaker's intentions.
Stabilization function/Millikan: next chapter thesis: one aspect of the word meaning, the syntactic form is the focused stabilization function.
Literary use/Millikan: the literary use does not correspond to any stabilizing function (see below).
Gricean Intention/MillikanVsGrice/Millikan: Thesis: the Gricean intentions are not at all what drives language usage and understanding.
Stabilization function/language/Millikan: if speech patterns such as words or syntactic forms have a stabilizing function, then these direct eigenfunctions of reproductively determined families (rfF) are 1st level, of which these patterns are also elements.
Functions: of words etc. are historically acquired by expressing both utterances and reactions of the listener.
Intention/Speaker's intention/N.B.: these functions do not depend on the speaker's intentions!
Direct eigenfunction: has a word token even when it is produced by a parrot. The token is an element of a reproductively determined family in that it has a direct eigenfunction.
Intention/purpose: the intention or purpose provides a derived eigenfunction.
Derived eigenfunction: however, lies above and beyond the direct or stabilizing function. It can be the same as the direct function, but it does not have to be. In any case, it is not its own function of the speech pattern, it is not its eigenfunction.
Stabilization Function/Language/Millikan: although the stabilization function is independent of purpose and speaker's intention, it is not independent of purposes that speakers can have in general.
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I 53
Here again there will be a "critical mass" of cases of use.
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I 63
Imperative/Millikan: now it is certainly the case that a listener, if asked if the speaker intended to obey the command, will surely immediately answer "yes".
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I 64
But that does not mean that he used this belief in obedience.
Gricean intentions/MillikanVsGrice/Millikan: Gricean intentions are thus superfluous. And they also do not help to distinguish unnatural meaning from less interesting things.
In any case, we need not pay attention to Gricean intentions, which are subject only to potential and not actual modifications of the nervous system.
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I 65
VsMillikan: you could object that you could have reasons for an action without these reasons being activated in the anatomy.
Millikan: if I stop believing something, I will refrain from certain actions.
Gricean Intentions/Millikan: the only interesting question is whether they are realised actually inside while one is speaking.
E.g. Millikan: the Sergeant says: "When I say 'stop' the next time, do not stop!"
A similar example is given by Bennett.
Problem: the training was so effective that the soldier did not manage to stop.


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Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution.

Millk I
R. G. Millikan
Language, Thought, and Other Biological Categories: New Foundations for Realism Cambridge 1987


> Counter arguments against Millikan
> Counter arguments in relation to Grice



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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2017-07-28